Monday, 28 December 2009

The sudden death of EAI

After decades of more or less succesfully integrating databases and applications, there was a proven model: hub-and-spoke architecture with a canonical model

It was pretty perfect: the evolutionary as-is and to-be diversity of any IT-landscape was absorbed by an almighty interpreter-translator in the middle, who would take all the different languages and dialects and translate them to an intermediate language that would be that enterprise's business language
Just as in the European Parliament, where they call this a 'relay' language. Now, if anyone knows anything about levelling (language) boundaries, it is right there. They handle 23 different official languages

Then, in came Object Orientation, largely throwing away the MoM-principle where decoupling is easily reached via exchanging messages, thus allowing (among others) for asynchronous communication

OO was left rather quickly as a means of integration, and ESB was invented. First as a pure concept where all applications have to literally speak the language of the bus (with IT-architects proudly claiming they had achieved the dream, being a loosely coupled ESB), but that was quickly abandoned as it was far too costly and never even made it all the way to the 80 part of the Pareto principle
Ask the European Parliament about demanding all member states to speak the same language, and you'll know why 'pure ESB' failed miserably

At about the same time XML made its way, and fundamentally changed the field of EAI. Why? Because it was legible, and attracted hordes and masses of previously EAI-illiterates. All of a sudden, everyone had an opinion on EAI. Everyone could write an interface. And everyone did. The result? Masses of messes, in my own words. Bottom-up integration was made possible: bi-lateral trial-and-error just as witnessed during the point-to-point age

XML and ESB together created the first dramas of Integration, and prepared the world for massive SOA failures. The knowledgeable world of EDI and EAI-experts, carefully grown and cultivated for over decades, was destroyed in little more than 5 years and swept away by tens of thousands of consultants, "ESB vendors" and big software giants.
Suddenly, Integration seemed to only mean ESB and XML, both of which were, and still are, immature standards completely open to debate and interpretation

What is the result of that? Discussions and endless debates about XML. About SOAP. About WSDL. About WS-* "standards". Once again, we tried to cover up an organisational or business problem in a technical solution

Integration is not about tech, that wheel was round 20 years ago. It's about business (agreements) first. And OASIS nor W3C understand that

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